< Back to Blog

Treating foot, ankle, and heel pain with extracorporeal shockwave therapy

What conditions does ESWT treat?

Although extracorporeal shockwave therapy is not a cure-all, it does have many potential applications. ESWT is particularly useful for treating injuries related to the tendons, ligaments and non-muscle fibers of the feet, ankles, and lower legs, especially those resulting in heel pain. In your podiatrist’s office, depending on your symptoms and needs, ESWT may be used to treat:

Patella tip syndrome: Inflammation at the attachment point of the patellar (kneecap) ligament

  • Medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS, also known as shin splints): Inflammation and pain along the inner edge of the shin
  • Insertional and midbody Achilles tendinopathy: Pain along the Achilles tendon at the site of insertion on the calcaneus (heel bone) and generalized Achilles tendon pain
  • Plantar fasciitis: Pain along the bottom of the foot and in the heel due to inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue along the bottom of the foot from the forefoot to the heel
  • Chronic enthesopathies: Pain at the attachment points of tendons due to overexertion, strain, or degenerative disease

How does extracorporeal shockwave therapy work?

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is a particularly effective method of treating pain in the feet, ankles, and lower legs due to the effects of ESWT on the body’s ability to heal itself. Shockwave therapy causes the body to release substances that mitigate pain and increase growth factor. It also dilates the blood vessels, improving circulation and allowing for better blood flow to the bones and other tissues, providing nutrients and oxygen and thus promoting healing. Shockwaves also prevent the production of COX II, a substance known to increase inflammation, while also promoting the release of free radicals and stimulating the body’s own natural defenses on a cellular level to protect it from disease. Finally, ESWT overstimulates nerve fibers, which may seem counterintuitive, but actually promotes the body’s ability to block painful sensations, providing its own analgesic effect.

If you have been suffering from foot, ankle, or heel pain, take a proactive step by calling Kansas City Foot Specialists today at (913) 338-4440 to schedule an appointment. Our podiatrists are here to evaluate your individual situation and make appropriate recommendations for treatment. Depending on the nature of your pain and needs, extracorporeal shockwave therapy might be one possibility.